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Civil Services Code

16.4 Most countries that have reformed


their civil services such as New Zealand,
1. The Civil Service is an integral and key part of the
Government of the United Kingdom. It supports the Australia and the UK have established
Government of the day in developing and implementing a set of principles to guide civil service
its policies, and in delivering public services. Civil servants
are accountable to Ministers, who in turn are accountable behaviour in the form of values and
to Parliament.
a legally enforceable code of conduct,
2. As a civil servant, you are appointed on merit on the basis setting out standards of behaviour
of fair and open competition and are expected to carry out expected of those working in the
your role with dedication and a commitment to the Civil
Service and its core values: integrity, honesty, objectivity civil services. In the UK, following
and impartiality. In this Code:
the recommendations of the Nolan
integrity is putting the obligations of public service above Committee on standards in public
your own personal interests;
service, the Civil Service Code was
honesty is being truthful and open;
incorporated into a law that came
objectivity is basing your advice and decisions on into force on 1st January 1996. The
rigorous analysis of the evidence; and
Code is a clear and concise statement
impartiality is acting solely according to the merits of the of standards of behaviour that the civil
case and serving equally well Governments of different
servants must follow, and is a part of the
political persuasions.
civil servants terms and conditions of
3. These core values support good government and ensure the
achievement of the highest possible standards in all that employment. In addition to describing
the Civil Service does. This in turn helps the Civil Service the integrity and loyalty required of civil
to gain and retain the respect of Ministers, Parliament, the
servants, the Code prohibits deceiving
public and its customers.
Source: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/documents/doc/cscode/ Parliament or the public, misuse of
official positions, and unauthorized
cscode.doc
disclosure of confidential information.
The Code provides a right of appeal to independent Civil Service Commissioners on matters
of propriety and conscience, if the problem cannot be resolved within the department in
question.
Box 16.1: Civil Service Values in the United Kingdom

16

CIVIL SERVICES CODE

16.1 Ethics is a set of principles of right conduct.116 It has been defined as a set of values
and principles which helps guide behaviour, choice and actions. It helps to decide whether
ones actions are right or wrong. Organizations as well as individuals have ethical standards.
These standards help ensure that individuals belonging to an organization have a consistent
approach in carrying out their responsibilities and making decisions. They also ensure that
members of an organization maintain a consistent and appropriate behaviour towards one
another and towards clients and persons outside the organization.
16.2 Civil servants have special obligations because they are responsible for managing
resources entrusted to them by the community, because they provide and deliver services
to the community and because they take important decisions that affect all aspects of a
communitys life. The community has a right to expect that the civil service functions fairly,
impartially and efficiently. It is essential that the community must be able to trust and have
confidence in the integrity of the civil service decision-making process. Within the civil
service itself, it needs to be ensured that the decisions and actions of civil servants reflect
the policies of the government of the day and the standards that the community expects
from them as government servants. The expectation that the civil service will maintain the
same standards of professionalism, responsiveness and impartiality in serving successive
political governments is a key element of the way our democratic polity functions.
16.3 In a democracy, an efficient civil service must have a set of values that distinguishes
it from other professions. Integrity, dedication to public service, impartiality, political
neutrality, anonymity etc are said to be the hallmarks of an efficient civil service. In some
countries, these values have been embodied in laws e.g. in Australia - and in some countries
these are enshrined in the respective Constitutions. Article 153 of the Polish Constitution
states: 117
(1) A corps of civil servants shall operate in the organs of government administration
in order to ensure a professional, diligent, impartial and politically neutral
discharge of the States obligations.
(2)

The Prime Minister shall be the superior of such corps of civil servants.

282

16.5 In New Zealand, the reforms have led to the enactment of the State Services Act
with focus on ethics and public service ethos. This was primarily because civil service
reforms in New Zealand created a system in which loyalty of the civil servant was to his/
her department or agency rather than to the public service as a whole. So, it was necessary
to raise the awareness about ethics, and public service values and ethos. The State Services
Commission took the lead in raising such awareness and issued the Code of Conduct for
civil servants. A Standards and Ethics Board was also set up.
16.6 In Australia, reforms in this respect have been the most comprehensive. Section 10
of the Public Service Act, 1999 contains a declaration of fifteen values, which affirm that
the Australian Public Service:
283

116
117

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethics
http:/www.poland.pl/info/information_about_poland/constitution/ch6.htm (extracted on 19.9.08)

Civil Services Code

16.4 Most countries that have reformed


their civil services such as New Zealand,
1. The Civil Service is an integral and key part of the
Government of the United Kingdom. It supports the Australia and the UK have established
Government of the day in developing and implementing a set of principles to guide civil service
its policies, and in delivering public services. Civil servants
are accountable to Ministers, who in turn are accountable behaviour in the form of values and
to Parliament.
a legally enforceable code of conduct,
2. As a civil servant, you are appointed on merit on the basis setting out standards of behaviour
of fair and open competition and are expected to carry out expected of those working in the
your role with dedication and a commitment to the Civil
Service and its core values: integrity, honesty, objectivity civil services. In the UK, following
and impartiality. In this Code:
the recommendations of the Nolan
integrity is putting the obligations of public service above Committee on standards in public
your own personal interests;
service, the Civil Service Code was
honesty is being truthful and open;
incorporated into a law that came
objectivity is basing your advice and decisions on into force on 1st January 1996. The
rigorous analysis of the evidence; and
Code is a clear and concise statement
impartiality is acting solely according to the merits of the of standards of behaviour that the civil
case and serving equally well Governments of different
servants must follow, and is a part of the
political persuasions.
civil servants terms and conditions of
3. These core values support good government and ensure the
achievement of the highest possible standards in all that employment. In addition to describing
the Civil Service does. This in turn helps the Civil Service the integrity and loyalty required of civil
to gain and retain the respect of Ministers, Parliament, the
servants, the Code prohibits deceiving
public and its customers.
Source: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/documents/doc/cscode/ Parliament or the public, misuse of
official positions, and unauthorized
cscode.doc
disclosure of confidential information.
The Code provides a right of appeal to independent Civil Service Commissioners on matters
of propriety and conscience, if the problem cannot be resolved within the department in
question.
Box 16.1: Civil Service Values in the United Kingdom

16

CIVIL SERVICES CODE

16.1 Ethics is a set of principles of right conduct.116 It has been defined as a set of values
and principles which helps guide behaviour, choice and actions. It helps to decide whether
ones actions are right or wrong. Organizations as well as individuals have ethical standards.
These standards help ensure that individuals belonging to an organization have a consistent
approach in carrying out their responsibilities and making decisions. They also ensure that
members of an organization maintain a consistent and appropriate behaviour towards one
another and towards clients and persons outside the organization.
16.2 Civil servants have special obligations because they are responsible for managing
resources entrusted to them by the community, because they provide and deliver services
to the community and because they take important decisions that affect all aspects of a
communitys life. The community has a right to expect that the civil service functions fairly,
impartially and efficiently. It is essential that the community must be able to trust and have
confidence in the integrity of the civil service decision-making process. Within the civil
service itself, it needs to be ensured that the decisions and actions of civil servants reflect
the policies of the government of the day and the standards that the community expects
from them as government servants. The expectation that the civil service will maintain the
same standards of professionalism, responsiveness and impartiality in serving successive
political governments is a key element of the way our democratic polity functions.
16.3 In a democracy, an efficient civil service must have a set of values that distinguishes
it from other professions. Integrity, dedication to public service, impartiality, political
neutrality, anonymity etc are said to be the hallmarks of an efficient civil service. In some
countries, these values have been embodied in laws e.g. in Australia - and in some countries
these are enshrined in the respective Constitutions. Article 153 of the Polish Constitution
states: 117
(1) A corps of civil servants shall operate in the organs of government administration
in order to ensure a professional, diligent, impartial and politically neutral
discharge of the States obligations.
(2)

The Prime Minister shall be the superior of such corps of civil servants.

282

16.5 In New Zealand, the reforms have led to the enactment of the State Services Act
with focus on ethics and public service ethos. This was primarily because civil service
reforms in New Zealand created a system in which loyalty of the civil servant was to his/
her department or agency rather than to the public service as a whole. So, it was necessary
to raise the awareness about ethics, and public service values and ethos. The State Services
Commission took the lead in raising such awareness and issued the Code of Conduct for
civil servants. A Standards and Ethics Board was also set up.
16.6 In Australia, reforms in this respect have been the most comprehensive. Section 10
of the Public Service Act, 1999 contains a declaration of fifteen values, which affirm that
the Australian Public Service:
283

116
117

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethics
http:/www.poland.pl/info/information_about_poland/constitution/ch6.htm (extracted on 19.9.08)

Refurbishing of Personnel Administation Scaling New Heights

is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner


is openly accountable for its actions, within the framework of Ministerial
responsibility to the Government, the Parliament, and the Australian public
is responsive to the Government in providing frank, honest, comprehensive,
accurate and timely advice and in implementing the Governments policies and
programs
delivers services fairly, effectively, impartially and courteously to the Australian
public and is sensitive to the diversity of the Australian public
provides a reasonable opportunity to all eligible members of the community to
apply for APS employment
is a public service in which employment decisions are based on merit
provides a workplace that is free from discrimination and recognizes and utilizes
the diversity of the Australian community it serves
establishes workplace relations that value communication, consultation, cooperation and input from employees on matters that affect their workplace
provides a fair, flexible, safe and rewarding workplace
focuses on achieving results and managing performance
promotes equity in employment
provides a fair system of review of decisions taken in respect of APS employees
has the highest ethical standards
has leadership of the highest quality
is a career-based service to enhance the effectiveness and cohesion of Australias
democratic system of government.
16.7 Section 13 of Australias Public Service Act lays down the code of conduct for Australias
civil service. The code of conduct requires that an employee must:
behave honestly and with integrity in the course of APS employment
act with care and diligence in the course of APS employment
when acting in the course of APS employment, treat everyone with respect and
courtesy, and without harassment
284

Civil Services Code

when acting in the course of APS employment, comply with all applicable
Australian laws
comply with any lawful and reasonable direction given by someone in the
employees agency who has authority to give the direction
maintain appropriate confidentiality about dealings that the employee has with
any Minister or Ministers member of staff
disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent)
in connection with APS employment
use Commonwealth resources in a proper manner
not provide false or misleading information in response to a request for information
that is made for official purposes in connection with the employees APS
employment
not make improper use of (a)inside information and (b)the employees duties,
status, power or authority in order to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or advantage
for the employee or any other person
at all times, behave in a way that upholds the APS values and the integrity and
good reputation of the APS
while on duty overseas, at all times, behave in a way that upholds the good
reputation of Australia
except in the course of his/her or her duties as an APS employee or with the
Agency Heads express authority, not give or disclose, directly or indirectly, any
information about public business or anything of which the employee has official
knowledge.
16.8 In India, the current set of ethical norms are the Conduct Rules, contained in the
Central Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 and analogous rules applicable to members of
the All India Services or employees of various State Governments. The code of
behaviour as enunciated in the Conduct Rules, while containing some general norms
like maintaining integrity and absolute devotion to duty and not indulging in conduct
unbecoming of a government servant is generally directed towards cataloguing specific
activities deemed undesirable for government servants. These conduct rules do not constitute
a code of ethics.
285

Refurbishing of Personnel Administation Scaling New Heights

is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner


is openly accountable for its actions, within the framework of Ministerial
responsibility to the Government, the Parliament, and the Australian public
is responsive to the Government in providing frank, honest, comprehensive,
accurate and timely advice and in implementing the Governments policies and
programs
delivers services fairly, effectively, impartially and courteously to the Australian
public and is sensitive to the diversity of the Australian public
provides a reasonable opportunity to all eligible members of the community to
apply for APS employment
is a public service in which employment decisions are based on merit
provides a workplace that is free from discrimination and recognizes and utilizes
the diversity of the Australian community it serves
establishes workplace relations that value communication, consultation, cooperation and input from employees on matters that affect their workplace
provides a fair, flexible, safe and rewarding workplace
focuses on achieving results and managing performance
promotes equity in employment
provides a fair system of review of decisions taken in respect of APS employees
has the highest ethical standards
has leadership of the highest quality
is a career-based service to enhance the effectiveness and cohesion of Australias
democratic system of government.
16.7 Section 13 of Australias Public Service Act lays down the code of conduct for Australias
civil service. The code of conduct requires that an employee must:
behave honestly and with integrity in the course of APS employment
act with care and diligence in the course of APS employment
when acting in the course of APS employment, treat everyone with respect and
courtesy, and without harassment
284

Civil Services Code

when acting in the course of APS employment, comply with all applicable
Australian laws
comply with any lawful and reasonable direction given by someone in the
employees agency who has authority to give the direction
maintain appropriate confidentiality about dealings that the employee has with
any Minister or Ministers member of staff
disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent)
in connection with APS employment
use Commonwealth resources in a proper manner
not provide false or misleading information in response to a request for information
that is made for official purposes in connection with the employees APS
employment
not make improper use of (a)inside information and (b)the employees duties,
status, power or authority in order to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or advantage
for the employee or any other person
at all times, behave in a way that upholds the APS values and the integrity and
good reputation of the APS
while on duty overseas, at all times, behave in a way that upholds the good
reputation of Australia
except in the course of his/her or her duties as an APS employee or with the
Agency Heads express authority, not give or disclose, directly or indirectly, any
information about public business or anything of which the employee has official
knowledge.
16.8 In India, the current set of ethical norms are the Conduct Rules, contained in the
Central Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 and analogous rules applicable to members of
the All India Services or employees of various State Governments. The code of
behaviour as enunciated in the Conduct Rules, while containing some general norms
like maintaining integrity and absolute devotion to duty and not indulging in conduct
unbecoming of a government servant is generally directed towards cataloguing specific
activities deemed undesirable for government servants. These conduct rules do not constitute
a code of ethics.
285

Refurbishing of Personnel Administation Scaling New Heights

Civil Services Code

16.9 The Draft Public Services Bill, 2007 proposes the necessary first step towards evolving
a code of ethics. It states in Chapter III,

betterment of the public at large; foster socio-economic development, with


due regard to the diversity of the nation but without discrimination on the
ground of caste, community, religion, gender or class and duly protecting the
interest of poor, underprivileged and weaker sections.

6. Values of Public Service: The Public Service and the Public Servants shall be guided
by the following values in the discharge of their functions:
(1)

patriotism and upholding national pride

(2)

allegiance to the Constitution and the law of the nation

(3)

objectivity, impartiality, honesty, diligence, courtesy and transparency

(4)

maintain absolute integrity

7. Without prejudice to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, on the
recommendations of or in consultation with the Central Authority, notify from time to
time other values in this Section.
8. Review of Public Service Values: The Central Authority may from time to time
review the adoption, adherence to and implementation of the Public Service Values in
the departments or organizations under the Central Government and send reports to the
Central Government.
9. Public Services Code:
(1)

The Government shall promote the Public Service Values and a standard of ethics
in the Public Service operations, requiring and facilitating every Public Service
employee:
i.

ii.

to ensure effective management, professional growth and leadership


development

iii.

to avoid misuse of official position or information and using the public


moneys with utmost care and autonomy

iv.
286

to discharge official duties with competence and accountability; care and


diligence; responsibility, honesty, objectivity and impartiality; without
discrimination and in accordance with law

function with the objective that Public Services and Public Servants are
to serve as instruments of good governance and to provide services for the

(2)

The Government shall, in consultation with the Central Authority, prepare a Public
Services Code of Ethics for guiding the Public Service employees within one year
from the commencement of this Act.

16.10. In India, civil service values have evolved over years of tradition. These values also find
place in various rules, including the Code of Conduct. The current set of enforceable norms
are Conduct Rules, typified by the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules - 1964 and
analogous rules applicable to members of the All India Services or employees of various State
Governments. As mentioned earlier, the code of behaviour as enunciated in the Conduct
Rules, while containing some general norms like maintaining integrity and absolute devotion
to duty and not indulging in conduct unbecoming of a government servant, are generally
directed towards cataloguing specific activities deemed undesirable for government servants.
There is no Code of Ethics prescribed for civil servants in India although such Codes exist in
other countries. A comprehensive Civil Service Code can be conceptualized at three levels.
At the apex level, there should be a clear and concise statement of the values and ethical
standards that a civil servant should imbibe. These values should reflect public expectations
from a civil servant with reference to political impartiality, maintenance of highest ethical
standards and accountability for actions. At the second level, the broad principles which
should govern the behaviour of a civil servant may be outlined. This would constitute the
Code of Ethics. At the third level, there should be a specific Code of Conduct stipulating
in a precise and unambiguous manner, a list of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and
actions. The Commission feels that the values and the Code of Ethics should be given a
statutory backing by including them in the proposed Civil Services Bill.
16.11 The Commission is of the view that in addition to commitment to the Constitution
these values should include:
a.

Adherence to the highest standards of probity, integrity and conduct

b.

Impartiality and non-partisanship

c.

Objectivity

d.

Commitment to the citizens concerns and public good

e.

Empathy for the vulnerable and weaker sections of society.


287

Refurbishing of Personnel Administation Scaling New Heights

Civil Services Code

16.9 The Draft Public Services Bill, 2007 proposes the necessary first step towards evolving
a code of ethics. It states in Chapter III,

betterment of the public at large; foster socio-economic development, with


due regard to the diversity of the nation but without discrimination on the
ground of caste, community, religion, gender or class and duly protecting the
interest of poor, underprivileged and weaker sections.

6. Values of Public Service: The Public Service and the Public Servants shall be guided
by the following values in the discharge of their functions:
(1)

patriotism and upholding national pride

(2)

allegiance to the Constitution and the law of the nation

(3)

objectivity, impartiality, honesty, diligence, courtesy and transparency

(4)

maintain absolute integrity

7. Without prejudice to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, on the
recommendations of or in consultation with the Central Authority, notify from time to
time other values in this Section.
8. Review of Public Service Values: The Central Authority may from time to time
review the adoption, adherence to and implementation of the Public Service Values in
the departments or organizations under the Central Government and send reports to the
Central Government.
9. Public Services Code:
(1)

The Government shall promote the Public Service Values and a standard of ethics
in the Public Service operations, requiring and facilitating every Public Service
employee:
i.

ii.

to ensure effective management, professional growth and leadership


development

iii.

to avoid misuse of official position or information and using the public


moneys with utmost care and autonomy

iv.
286

to discharge official duties with competence and accountability; care and


diligence; responsibility, honesty, objectivity and impartiality; without
discrimination and in accordance with law

function with the objective that Public Services and Public Servants are
to serve as instruments of good governance and to provide services for the

(2)

The Government shall, in consultation with the Central Authority, prepare a Public
Services Code of Ethics for guiding the Public Service employees within one year
from the commencement of this Act.

16.10. In India, civil service values have evolved over years of tradition. These values also find
place in various rules, including the Code of Conduct. The current set of enforceable norms
are Conduct Rules, typified by the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules - 1964 and
analogous rules applicable to members of the All India Services or employees of various State
Governments. As mentioned earlier, the code of behaviour as enunciated in the Conduct
Rules, while containing some general norms like maintaining integrity and absolute devotion
to duty and not indulging in conduct unbecoming of a government servant, are generally
directed towards cataloguing specific activities deemed undesirable for government servants.
There is no Code of Ethics prescribed for civil servants in India although such Codes exist in
other countries. A comprehensive Civil Service Code can be conceptualized at three levels.
At the apex level, there should be a clear and concise statement of the values and ethical
standards that a civil servant should imbibe. These values should reflect public expectations
from a civil servant with reference to political impartiality, maintenance of highest ethical
standards and accountability for actions. At the second level, the broad principles which
should govern the behaviour of a civil servant may be outlined. This would constitute the
Code of Ethics. At the third level, there should be a specific Code of Conduct stipulating
in a precise and unambiguous manner, a list of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and
actions. The Commission feels that the values and the Code of Ethics should be given a
statutory backing by including them in the proposed Civil Services Bill.
16.11 The Commission is of the view that in addition to commitment to the Constitution
these values should include:
a.

Adherence to the highest standards of probity, integrity and conduct

b.

Impartiality and non-partisanship

c.

Objectivity

d.

Commitment to the citizens concerns and public good

e.

Empathy for the vulnerable and weaker sections of society.


287

Refurbishing of Personnel Administation Scaling New Heights

Civil Services Code

16.12 The Commission is also of the view that these values, per se, may not be enforceable.
But a mechanism may be put in place so that efforts are made, particularly, by those in
leadership positions, for inculcating these values in all persons in their organisations. The
Commission would like to draw lessons from the Australian Public Service Act which has
defined a set of values. That law prescribes that an Agency Head must uphold and promote
the Australian Public Service (APS) Values (Section 12). It is also prescribed that the
Commissioners functions include (a) evaluating the extent to which Agencies incorporate
and uphold the APS Values (b) evaluating the adequacy of systems and procedures in
Agencies for ensuring compliance with the Code of Conduct (Section 41). The Commission
feels that an independent agency should audit organizations/departments and evaluate the
measures the organization has undertaken to uphold the civil service values. The Central
Civil Services Authority may be entrusted with this task.

16.14 At the third level are a set of specific guidelines regulating the conduct of civil servants.
As mentioned in Paragraph 16.10, the present Conduct Rules regulate the behaviour of
civil servants. Although these constitute a very comprehensive and wide ranging set of
guidelines, they suffer from many shortcomings and anomalies. To illustrate:

16.13 The Commission has studied the issue of ethics in public life in other countries and
in its Report on Ethics in Governance, it has highlighted the seven principles of public
life enunciated by the Nolan Committee in UK. Drawing from these, the Commission
would suggest the inclusion of the following principles in the Code of Ethics for civil
servants in India:

(1)

Since there may be no company or firm in India that does not have any dealing with the
Government, all firms and companies are automatically covered by such a sweeping rule
which is likely therefore to be observed more in breach than in reality and which in any case,
may not necessarily involve any type of conflict of interest. Moreover, even if permission is
taken in advance, if the acceptance of employment really involves any element of nepotism
or conflict of interest, such permission cannot absolve the civil servant from any disciplinary
or criminal liability.
(2)

Integrity: Civil servants, should be guided solely by public interest in their official
decision making and not by any financial or other consideration either in respect
of themselves, their families or their friends.
Impartiality: Civil servants in carrying out their official work, including functions
like procurement, recruitment, delivery of services etc, should take decisions based
on merit alone.
Commitment to public service: Civil servants should deliver services in a fair,
effective, impartial and courteous manner.
Open accountability: Civil servants are accountable for their decisions and actions
and should be willing to subject themselves to appropriate scrutiny for this
purpose.
Devotion to duty: Civil servants maintain absolute and unstinting devotion towards
their duties and responsibilities at all times.

No Class I officer shall, except with the previous sanction of the Government,
permit his son, daughter or other dependant, to accept employment in any
[company or firm] with which he has official dealings or in any other [company
or firm] having official dealings with the Government.118

Where a Government servant enters into a transaction in respect of movable


property either in his own name or in the name of the member of his family, he
shall, within one month from the date of such transaction, report the same to
the prescribed authority, if the value of such property exceeds twenty thousand
rupees in the case of a Government servant holding any Class I or Class II
post or fifteen thousand rupees in the case of Government servant holding any
Class III or Class IV post, provided that the previous sanction of the prescribed
authority shall be obtained by the Government servant if any such transaction
is with a person having official dealings with him.

16.15 Considering the rate of inflation in the country, rising living standards and rising
income levels, the financial ceilings prescribed above mean that even for buying day-to-day
consumer appliances, intimation of the transaction to Government becomes necessary. This
restriction again is therefore observed more in breach than in reality. Even if such intimation
is given, it is unlikely that the Government can maintain or process the records of such
transactions. It also amounts in any case to duplication of efforts since an annual statement
of movable and immovable properties is to be submitted by Government servants.
(3)

Exemplary behaviour: Civil servants shall treat all members of the public with
respect and courtesy and, at all times, should behave in a manner that upholds
the rich traditions of the civil services.
288

No Government servant shall, except with the previous knowledge of the


prescribed authority, acquire or dispose of any immovable property by lease,
mortgage, purchase, sale, gift or otherwise either in his own name or in the
name of any member of his family.

Rule 4(2) of the Central Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964

118

289

Refurbishing of Personnel Administation Scaling New Heights

Civil Services Code

16.12 The Commission is also of the view that these values, per se, may not be enforceable.
But a mechanism may be put in place so that efforts are made, particularly, by those in
leadership positions, for inculcating these values in all persons in their organisations. The
Commission would like to draw lessons from the Australian Public Service Act which has
defined a set of values. That law prescribes that an Agency Head must uphold and promote
the Australian Public Service (APS) Values (Section 12). It is also prescribed that the
Commissioners functions include (a) evaluating the extent to which Agencies incorporate
and uphold the APS Values (b) evaluating the adequacy of systems and procedures in
Agencies for ensuring compliance with the Code of Conduct (Section 41). The Commission
feels that an independent agency should audit organizations/departments and evaluate the
measures the organization has undertaken to uphold the civil service values. The Central
Civil Services Authority may be entrusted with this task.

16.14 At the third level are a set of specific guidelines regulating the conduct of civil servants.
As mentioned in Paragraph 16.10, the present Conduct Rules regulate the behaviour of
civil servants. Although these constitute a very comprehensive and wide ranging set of
guidelines, they suffer from many shortcomings and anomalies. To illustrate:

16.13 The Commission has studied the issue of ethics in public life in other countries and
in its Report on Ethics in Governance, it has highlighted the seven principles of public
life enunciated by the Nolan Committee in UK. Drawing from these, the Commission
would suggest the inclusion of the following principles in the Code of Ethics for civil
servants in India:

(1)

Since there may be no company or firm in India that does not have any dealing with the
Government, all firms and companies are automatically covered by such a sweeping rule
which is likely therefore to be observed more in breach than in reality and which in any case,
may not necessarily involve any type of conflict of interest. Moreover, even if permission is
taken in advance, if the acceptance of employment really involves any element of nepotism
or conflict of interest, such permission cannot absolve the civil servant from any disciplinary
or criminal liability.
(2)

Integrity: Civil servants, should be guided solely by public interest in their official
decision making and not by any financial or other consideration either in respect
of themselves, their families or their friends.
Impartiality: Civil servants in carrying out their official work, including functions
like procurement, recruitment, delivery of services etc, should take decisions based
on merit alone.
Commitment to public service: Civil servants should deliver services in a fair,
effective, impartial and courteous manner.
Open accountability: Civil servants are accountable for their decisions and actions
and should be willing to subject themselves to appropriate scrutiny for this
purpose.
Devotion to duty: Civil servants maintain absolute and unstinting devotion towards
their duties and responsibilities at all times.

No Class I officer shall, except with the previous sanction of the Government,
permit his son, daughter or other dependant, to accept employment in any
[company or firm] with which he has official dealings or in any other [company
or firm] having official dealings with the Government.118

Where a Government servant enters into a transaction in respect of movable


property either in his own name or in the name of the member of his family, he
shall, within one month from the date of such transaction, report the same to
the prescribed authority, if the value of such property exceeds twenty thousand
rupees in the case of a Government servant holding any Class I or Class II
post or fifteen thousand rupees in the case of Government servant holding any
Class III or Class IV post, provided that the previous sanction of the prescribed
authority shall be obtained by the Government servant if any such transaction
is with a person having official dealings with him.

16.15 Considering the rate of inflation in the country, rising living standards and rising
income levels, the financial ceilings prescribed above mean that even for buying day-to-day
consumer appliances, intimation of the transaction to Government becomes necessary. This
restriction again is therefore observed more in breach than in reality. Even if such intimation
is given, it is unlikely that the Government can maintain or process the records of such
transactions. It also amounts in any case to duplication of efforts since an annual statement
of movable and immovable properties is to be submitted by Government servants.
(3)

Exemplary behaviour: Civil servants shall treat all members of the public with
respect and courtesy and, at all times, should behave in a manner that upholds
the rich traditions of the civil services.
288

No Government servant shall, except with the previous knowledge of the


prescribed authority, acquire or dispose of any immovable property by lease,
mortgage, purchase, sale, gift or otherwise either in his own name or in the
name of any member of his family.

Rule 4(2) of the Central Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964

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289

Refurbishing of Personnel Administation Scaling New Heights

This Rule is again so sweeping in its coverage that even inheritance of ancestral family
property would require prior intimation. It also amounts to duplication since an annual
property return is supposed to reflect all the transactions.
(4)

A Government servant shall so manage his private affairs as to avoid habitual


indebtedness or insolvency. A Government servant against whom any legal
proceeding is instituted for the recovery of any debt due from him or for
adjudging him as an insolvent, shall forthwith report the full facts of the legal
proceedings to the Government.

This appears to be a meaningless provision which is unlikely to be enforced nor does it


have any direct linkage with the official work of the civil servant.
16.16 Therefore, in the light of the above, the Conduct Rules need to be completely
redrawn based on the values and code of ethics as suggested in the preceding paragraphs.
The proposed Central Civil Services Authority may be consulted while drawing up the
Conduct Rules and for interpreting any grey areas that may emerge in enforcing these
Conduct Rules. The recommendations regarding the Civil Services Values and the Code
of Ethics would have to be incorporated in the proposed Civil Services Bill.
16.17 Recommendations
a.

Civil Services Values and the Code of Ethics should be incorporated in


the proposed Civil Services Bill.

b.

Conduct Rules for civil servants need to be redrawn based on the values
and code of ethics as outlined in this Chapter (Chapter 16).

THE CIVIL SERVICES LAW

17

17.1 Legislative Intent in Other Countries


17.1.1 Experience of Other Countries
17.1.1.1 Legislative commitment has been an important factor in ensuring the success of civil
service reform initiatives in several countries during the last two decades. Legislative support
provides not only a legal framework for civil service reform but ensures the continuity of
these reforms. Such legislation plays a pivotal role in describing and establishing the core
principles which civil servants should imbibe. It also provides a clear, unified framework
within which the civil servants can perform their roles and discharge their responsibilities.
A new law is often needed to create and empower institutions which would ensure that
the civil servants discharge their duties while upholding the principles enshrined in the
Constitution.
17.1.1.2 In New Zealand, for example, it is argued that civil service reforms could have been
implemented under the existing legal provisions with required amendments instead of fresh
elaborate legislations. However, three important reasons have been cited for adopting a new
legislative route. First, they provided the necessary explanation for the proposed reforms.
When these Bills were introduced in the legislature, there was extensive debate as a result
of which, issues were clarified and doubts were set at rest. Second, when the reforms were
given legislative cover, there was bipartisan political support and both the major political
parties were committed to the changes. Third, civil servants normally give due importance
to laws, and in this case, these legislations sent an important message that the reforms were
there to stay.119
17.1.1.3 Public service laws which sought to bring major reforms have also been enacted
in Australia and a Public Service Bill has been under consideration for more than a decade
in the United Kingdom. However the conditions under which these laws were proposed
as also the ingredients differ widely from country to country.

290

291
Adapted from S K Das, Civil Service Reforms and Structural Adjustment, p.91

119